Parsis are protesting against a hoarding that has come up on the premises of the sacred Tower of Silence at Doongerwadi–declared a green belt and a heritage site by the Supreme Court. Accusing the Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP) of commercialising the sacred place, community members allege that the double-decker hoarding violates the Supreme Court order. But BPP claims that there is nothing illegal about the hoarding.
Activist Dr Anahita Pundole objected to the hoarding saying it not only disturbs the sanctity of the place but also violates the SC order. Since the site is listed as a green-belt and a heritage site as per the March 2007 order of the Supreme Court, no hoarding can be erected on the premises of the Tower of Silence.
The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC), which gave the BPP the go-ahead to erect the hoarding in 2005, has not revised its decision even after the Supreme Court order. MHCC chairperson Sharad Upasini said the permission to put up the hoarding was not given in his term. “I will look into the matter after talking to those against the hoarding and the BPP,” he said.
Historian Sharda Dwiwedi, who is also a member of the MHCC, said she was personally against any type of hoarding at heritage sites. “We are vandalising heritage sites by putting up ugly hoardings which mar the beauty of the place,” she said. But as a member of the committee, Dwiwedi said any decision on the hoarding would only be taken after discussing the matter with other MHCC members.
World Alliance of Parsi, Irani and Zoroastrian (WAPIZ) too has objected to the hoarding. Yezdi Desai, founder trustee of the alliance, said it should not have come up on the premises of the Tower of Silence. “The Bombay Parsi Panchayat should not commercialise the virgin lines. It’s a sacred place and glaring lights will upset the sanctity of the place.” WAPIZ has also written a letter to the BPP to register its protest.Panchayat chairperson Minoo Shroff says there is nothing wrong with the hoarding.
“The hoarding is at one end of the premises of the Tower of Silence and it will in no way affect the sanctity of the place. We have obtained all the required permissions before putting it up,” he said.
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